Hiking Sunset Mountain on Lantau Island
See Lantau Island from its second highest peak, and perhaps watch the sun set from Sunset Peak.
- Length: 7 kilometers (6.5 hours including transportation)
- Scenery: excellent scenery in natural parkland
- Difficulty: moderate
- Location: The middle of Lantau Island
- Altitude of peak: 869 meters (2,851 feet)
Suggested Route to the Peak and Back
Tung Chung – Lantau Trail Section 2 – Sunset Peak – Mui Wo
Probably the most popular route is the east to southwest route along Lantau Trail Section 2. This very nice hike is on roughly built hiking paths that would take up a whole afternoon's worth of hiking, but the bus transport back to Tung Chung or Mui Wo for dinner in the evening is convenient.
1. Stage 1: Get to Tung Chung (3/4 hour from the downtown area)
Take the MTR to Tung Chung. The MTR station is below a big mall called Citygate Outlets. If you like, you can buy food and drinks for the trip and hiking supplies at the good quality though low priced outlet stores. There is also a food court there and fast food restaurants for meal.
2. Stage 2: Tung Chung to Sunset Peak (Tai Tung Shan) Summit (2 hours)
Then take the 3M Bus or a taxi from the Citygate Outlets Mall to the Pak Kung Au bus stop. Get off there. The bus stop is on the ridge between the northern and southern side of the mountains at about 340 meters altitude.
The trail starts at a mini campground with picnic tables. What might confuse you is that the Chinese name for Sunset Peak is Tai Tung Shan (大東山). You'll find both names used on the trail and in maps.
The Lantau Trail stretches about 100 kilometers totally between Mui Wo and Tai O. Section 2 is just one part of it. On the Lantau Trail, you'll find park maps posted along the way, and helpful signs pointing out estimated hiking times and distances of the various routes and side trails.
The hike up is almost entirely on rough stone stairs and dirt path. It is a major stair climb going up half a kilometer in altitude. The stone steps often sit askew and are not regularly spaced. There are no ranger stations or medical help at higher altitudes, and on some days, you see few other people along the trail. Unless you are a regular hiker, this part of the hike is difficult for most people, so save your strength for enjoying the downward trail on the other side.
The highland has a different kind of vegetation composed of mainly grasses, sedges and small bushes. This contrasts with the jungle of brambles and trees below, and so you can enjoy the open sky and sunshine.
At the top, there is actually a cluster of several peaks, and you might have a difficult time figuring out which is the tallest peak because the signage isn't clear. The main peak is marked with a concrete altitude marker column.
Watching the Sunset on Sunset Peak
Seeing the sunset is really special. You can watch the red sun sphere sink below the horizon if the weather is right.
Warning: Once the sun sets below the line of the sea, it gets dark within a few minutes, and the walk back to a road in either direction is rough and can be dangerous in the dark especially if the path is wet. If you are planning to watch the sunset, carry good flashlights for the walk down in the dark.
Alternative sunset route options: The walk to Pak Tung Au on the steps going down is quicker and less dangerous than the longer dirt paths and stone stairs leading towards Mui Wo.
- Option 1: Do the hike east to west instead of east to west. You can still catch the 3M bus from Pak Tung Au back to Mui Wo for dinner.
- Option 2: Use the Pak Tung Au route for ascent and descent.
3. Stage 3: Sunset Peak to Mui Wo (2.5 hours)
The eastern part of the trail takes you through beautiful plateau areas; mainly along dirt paths at first. You descend on roughly laid stone steps in some places and cross little rivulets that might be dangerous to cross if there is a rainstorm. The valleys and forests provide shade for tired hikers, but they make the path very dark at night.
Near the South Lantau Road, the path is paved. Recent construction in the area mars the scenery in the part of the Lantau Trail that is within about a kilometer from the road, and along the trail you'll find fenced in areas and houses and buildings. Some dogs run loose on the path there.
Where the Lantau Trail meets the South Lantau Road, you'll find park bathrooms and a bus stop. There, take the 3M Bus or the Bus 1 for the 10 minute ride to the ferry. Around the ferry area, there are various restaurants for a good meal and stores to buy food and provisions.
4. Stage 4: Back to Central
The trip back to Central takes about 1 hour (14 HKD) or a half hour (29 HKD) depending on the ferry you take. The ferry trip is scenic, and you’ll pass several small islands.
- Water: There are no places to get water along this hike route except at the two ends and the bathroom at the end of Stage 3 above. It is especially important to have water on sunny summer days. There is little tree cover on the plateau, and people from colder climates will perspire a lot.
- Hats: Heat stroke can be a real danger. So on sunny hot days, wear a hat.
- Snacks: Take snacks with you to keep your energy up.